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How to Establish New Patterns When Loving Others Has Left you Hurting
The holiday season, a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration, often comes with a whirlwind of events, gatherings, and obligations. While the spirit of the holidays fill the air, it’s crucial to recognize that boundaries are not just applicable but necessary. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a depleted and run-down version of yourself has to be normal, or that attending events that make you feel unsafe, unheard, or less than should be expected of you just because the season calls for it. In fact, in order to love those around us the best we can, we need to refute that false narrative and start to really harness our boundaries during this season! Here is why:
Preserving Your Energy:
During the holidays, our schedules can become overwhelmingly busy. Balancing family events, social gatherings, and personal downtime can drain your energy. Setting boundaries allows you to preserve your emotional and physical energy, ensuring you have the enthusiasm to genuinely enjoy each moment, rather than feeling stretched thin. This is especially true for the family that lives under your roof. Sometimes, as crazy as it sounds, we forget about them. We start dragging them to all the events, we busy up every spare moment of our free time, everyone’s schedules are thrown off, and we do so because we don’t want to miss out or offend those around us who invite us to things, right? Well, are we setting aside time to dedicate to spending together as a family? Purposeful “no plan” days to be able to relax, slow down, and enjoy each other this season? Are we bending too much on the things that make our children feel safe (like consistent bedtimes, environments where they feel welcomed, etc.) and their holiday season may look a lot less joyful than we thought it did very quickly. Preserving your energy for both yourself AND your family is crucial.
Protecting Your Well-Being:
Holiday seasons can sometimes bring unwanted stress and trigger emotional challenges. Setting boundaries around topics that make you uncomfortable or limiting exposure to potentially toxic situations can safeguard your mental well-being. Remember, your peace of mind is a precious gift to yourself. If others are unkind to you each time you visit, if certain people make you uncomfortable year after year, if others don’t respect boundaries around your children, it is untrue that you have to go. Saying “no” can be done with kindness, and remember that how they react to your “no” says more about them than it does about your “no” itself. You are not unloving or selfish to hold back if you need to.
Fostering Meaningful Connections:
Boundaries can create space for deeper, more authentic connections with loved ones. One of the hardest things that happen when you set boundaries is that you can start to see your circles shrink. This is when some people panic and walk their boundaries back because the fear of losing others is simply too much. The best part about boundary work, however, is seeing the community that is created in your life after you stick with it. Holding your limits during the holiday season helps you foster relationships that are safe and meaningful to you. There is an old saying that states, “I would rather have 10 dimes than 100 pennies,” and that is very true for this! Ten deep and meaningful connections can impact your life so much more than 100 superficial ones. Think about who you need to lean into this holiday season!
The holiday hustle should never compromise your self-care or family routines. I touched on this above, but abandoning these limits you have set in your life to serve you will only lead straight to burn-out. It is perfectly acceptable to say “We are excited to come see you, but we will have to miss dessert because our children need to be in bed at their normal time.” You can say “Hey, thank you so much for the invite, however, each month that is a date night for my husband and me, and I am going to need to pass this year.” Routines that you have created in your life don’t suddenly lose their weight. Sit down and really evaluate which limits you feel strongly about for yourself and your family and commit to them; see how you feel after the holidays this year!
This holiday season, what if you committed to yourself first? What would that look like for you and your family? If you are not a DYW member, this is a great month to start because we talk about holiday boundaries in November’s masterclass, and the freebie this month is a Holiday Season Planner I created just for you! My hope is that you are intentional this year with things that help you love yourself and others in deeper and more meaningful ways than in years past, and that starts with determining your boundaries and ends with holding them. Remember, boundaries are not about building walls but rather about establishing doors that allow in the positive and keep out the overwhelming. A balanced holiday is a joyful holiday!
Courses on Boundaries, Heal from Codependency, Stewardship, and Rising Daughters are all available immediately for access to every active DYW member. Not only do you receive the self-paced video courses, but you get access to a monthly masterclass (including all the previous ones), bonus content, and email support with me.
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Now is the time to Discover Your Worth.